Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Motor Media

In this emerging age of digital media, advertising has definitely shifted. Previously, ads were in magazines, newspapers, and billboards. But now, as we, the consumers, move away from static and printed media, advertising executives are working on figuring out new ways to attract our attention.

Television advertisements have become very viewer-savvy, turning into mini-movies, rather than simply a showcase of product with a price and store location. Some are good (Volkswagon), some are funny (Geico), and some are lame (Budweiser). Some even have ad campaigns that push viewers to further product exploration via the web (Sony).

But the newest advertising trend annoys me: Ads on wheels. I'm talking about billboard trucks and cars that travel through traffic, with the idea that you'll be reading them while you're at a red light and will jot down the info on your Blackberry. Or the diorama trucks that showcase whole rooms from Ikea or recreate lush tropical hotspots like Mexico.

It's not that I don't think these are inventive, but I'm truly annoyed at how these ads simply exist to pollute. The whole point is to put your message on a gasoline powered vehicle and drive it all day on a proscribed route through traffic. I was surprised to see Ikea jumping on that bandwagon, because I usually think of Ikea as an environmentally conscious company.

The idea itself is interesting, although it really does add unnecessary traffic to downtown. I propose that instead of Vespas pulling small billboards (as in the Boston Globe Classifieds campaign of late), one could replace Vespas with bicycles. Tandem bikes could pull bigger ads. But on the other hand, bicycles can make snags in traffic as they are, let alone pulling advertising. The whole idea needs to be re-thought. Even from a bottom line perspective, the company has to pay for the cost of gas to run the billboards through traffic.

In any case, I'd prefer it if companies would stick to innovative web/televised/printed ads rather than clogging the traffic and adding to the pollution problem to make a sale.

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